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Posted November 5, 2010
Stile Antico is a group of twelve men and women who sing without conductor and concentrate on music of the Renaissance. This CD is one of the most enchanting of the recordings released this year that focuses on music of the holiday season. But this selection of works goes far beyond capturing the essence of the Advent and Christmas season - the works are timeless and so luminously performed that this will likely be a recording played throughout the year. The quality of sound captured by both the singers and the engineers of this album is truly extraordinary and otherworldly. The composers for this selection (with the exception of John Taverner!) are all form the Tudor period. The recital opens with the Thomas Tallis 'Videte miraculum' that segues into John Taverner's 'Audivi vocem de caelo'. This is followed by the Propers for the Fourth Sunday of Advent by William Byrd framing the Thomas Tallis seven part 'Missa Puer natus est', the focal point of the recording. The resonance of this work reverberates through what sounds like the largest cathedral on earth and is a miracle of clarity of tone and diction. Robert White's 'Magnificat' is the essence of the miracle of the birth that is Christmas. A plain chant - 'Puer Natus Est' - leads into John Sheppard's wondrous 'Verbum caro'. Yes, it is a service to celebrate a season, but it is such glorious music making that it will likely be listened to whenever the need for soul cleansing is needed. Grady Harp
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Posted November 23, 2011
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